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'China relying on charm offensive to win friends'

world Updated: Nov 22, 2008 15:13 IST

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China is looking for every way to turn on its "charm offensive" to win friends around the world, but its leadership does not hesitate to use its influence to "push back" potential adversaries, according to a review commission's report submitted to the US Congress.

Beijing at times supports activities that advance global peace and security, but there are instances in which China "harms" efforts to resolve international problems, for instance selling arms to Sudan, said the report by the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission.

"China's growing diplomatic activism is an attempt to demonstrate that China has attained great power status. China is relying upon its 'charm offensive' to win friends around the world, and it is using its influence to push back potential adversaries," the Commission said.

China has been able to use its economic weight to create financial dependencies that can constrain or censure the actions of other countries that rely on China's trade, it said.

"This has allowed China to expand its influence among developed nations, namely the United States and the European Union, and to be more assertive of its own economic interests, as was most recently observed in its behaviour at the World Trade organisation's July 2008 Doha negotiating round," the Commission maintained.

In the course of writing their assessments and conclusions, the Commission members travelled to many East Asian countries like Japan, Taiwan and South Korea.

"China's use of aid and investment may have detrimental consequences for the US and international financial institutions' desire to promote transparency, accountable governance, environmental protection and human development in the developing world," the Commission said in generally discussing the broad contours of China's foreign policy.

China, it claimed, "has continued to transfer weapons and military technology to nations that may use or retransfer them in ways that violate international norms and values and harm US interests."

Importantly, the Commission addresses an issue that has been at the centre of Capitol Hill's attention as well - Beijing's support and backing to the so-called rogue nations even as it goes about engaging constructively in the United Nations Peace Keeping Activities.

"China's engagement in United Nations (UN) peacekeeping operations is a positive contribution to global security. However, Beijing's continuing arms sales and military support to rogue regimes, namely Sudan, Burma and Iran threaten the stability of fragile regions and hinder US and international efforts to address international crises, such as the genocide in Darfur," the Commission maintained.

"The US' ability to promote its foreign policies around the world and to protect its interests may be challenged by rising Chinese influence. Holding China accountable for fulfilling its international commitments and encouraging it to adopt a constructive global role will strengthen the international system," it concluded.

Specifically on Taiwan, the Commission members warned that any armed conflict between China and Taiwan would impair security, stability and prosperity in East Asia and could involve the US. "It is in the interest of the United States to foster a peaceful resolution of Taiwan's international status and maintenance of a peaceful status quo until that resolution can be achieved."

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